She giggled under the weight of the comforter. It was a nice reminder that we’d be okay. We’d learn to accept the changes we couldn’t control, cope with the losses our family endured, and celebrate the gains that would make us stronger. We’d get to okay, together.
Just up the stairs from her, I struggled with the lights again. After a year-and-a-half, I was still hopeless with the mutli-way light switches. Upstairs there were four up-and-downs, just next to the buzzer for the front door, while downstairs there were two sets of two. That much I knew.
It seamed one day the switch upstairs on the right belonged to the kitchen lights and then the next it was the strand above our windows that overlooked New Kings Road. What was worse, some days “up” was “on” and on others, I’m afraid “up” should have been “off.”
One switch at a time, with infinite resistance, I chased an electrical current through our flat. Trigger a quick-break to silence the void. I gripped the toggle, accepted the only power I held. Sure, I didn’t know if I would turn a light on or off, but either way I could change its state from one to the other. Jagged shadows jumped through the banister, a bulb burned two stories beneath me by the front door.
A faded giggle from below. In an effort to turn off a single kitchen light, I turned the three floors of our flat into a night club.
Our lives had changed since the switches. Like the blood that pulsed through our veins, or the air we pulled into our lungs, sometimes the switches pointed the wrong way. Up should have been hello, instead it was something we just had to accept. The current should have flowed, but none of us had a hand on a toggle that mattered, and we were powerless against its position.
The lights went off. Hearts rest when the switches close.
I worked my way down the stairs and climbed into bed. I told her that “up” was “on” in the US, not the case in the UK. Interesting? No response, she slept soundly, not bothered by the light show in the least bit. I may not always be at the switches, but when I am, I’ll harness the control and accept that sometimes I must go up to get to down. If I’m lucky, the next time I turn our flat into Studio 54, I’ll hear them both giggle at me from below.